Posts from 24th December 2004

Dec 04


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Tropical Punch

Today I’d like to share with a recipe that’s been a feature of Daddino family Christmases for decades:


1 lage watermelon
1 46-ounce can (about 6 cups) red Hawaiian fruit punch
1 6-ounce can frozen pink lemonade concentrate
1 6-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 6-ounce can frozen pineapple juice concentrate
6 cups cold water
1 1-pint 12-ounce bottle (3 1/2 cups) ginger ale, chilled

Stand watermelon on end; cut thin slice off bottom to make it level. Cut top third off melon. Using cup as guide, trace scallops around top outside edge of melon. Carve scalloped edge, following pattern. Scoop out fruit, serve later. Chill melon shell.

Combine Hawaiian fruit punch, fruit juice concentrates, and water. Pour ice in melon bowl. Resting bottle in rim of melon, carefully pour ginger ale down side; mix with up-and-down motion. Float orange and lime slices. Twine melon with ivy leaves, holding with toothpicks. Makes 30 to 35 servings.

In mid-sixties cookbook it comes from (it shall remain nameless because it’s by an enormous copyright-hungry American recipe cartel), it’s one of two recipes that have been flagged as being really good…the other being Lemon Mayonnaise. Which sounds ick. And even though I have fond recollections of it, the punch is probably ick, too, as it mixes juice, juice simulacra and soda in a carnaval of high-fructose corn syrupy goodness. But who are we, oh dezinens of 2004, to judge, seeing as people drink Snapple Juice Drinks willingly? And that there are recipes for similar punches all over the net using raspberry sherbert, and I hate sherbert. Further, equally upsetting revelation: on a trip to the e-fecking-normous chain supermarket yesterday, I noticed Minute Maid no longer comes in 6-oz. of juice concentrate, only 12-oz. cans (which is fine as the family’s doubling the recipe this year) and 1-pint 12-oz bottles of ginger ale have also gone the way of all flesh, replaced by larger (and smaller) sizes. The moral: Americans are PIGGIER than EVER.

Incidentally, we never made this punch with the melon (or the ivy). Melons really aren’t in season this time of year, and besides, hollowing one out for punch is a really thankless task, isn’t it?


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Christmas 1979

I’m wearing one ugly fucking t-shirt: batik (again), blue, a non-licensed Snoopy carrying balloons, extra-clingy to show off my complete lack of physique. Plus I have to wear glasses now. It all started the day my grandparents come to school and notice I can’t read things printed on the blackboard without getting up from my chair and squinting. (Was my teacher completely oblivious to this? My parents?) It’s funny, I don’t really remember having sight problems at a young age. I don’t remember the world as blurry. In fact, I can remember being able to read storefronts and road signs glasses-free I probably wouldn’t be able to read now. So I’m assuming my vision must’ve taken a massive nose-dive from the mid to late seventies, then kept getting steadily worse to the point where, by the late eighties, other glasses wearers would look through my own pair and say to me “LIKE OHMYGOD YOU’RE SO BLIND!” (On the other hand, if I had crappy vision even as a young child, my glasslessness would serve a very convenient scapegoat on which to blame my initial and subsequent ineptitude at sports.)

Those blue flares were the family’s earliest tree ornaments, appearing in the photos documenting the first Christmas my parents spent together as a married couple. They were glass bulbs, some shaped like a fat teardrop, the others (perhaps purchased later) bulging in the middle and tapered at the ends. Alone on a tree save for garlands of silver tinsel, they made for an elegantally minimalist tree for an elegantly minimalist apartment, as compared to the embroidered patchwork craziness that comes from putting several decades’ worth of Xmas purchases on the unruly branches of a real pine. In January 1973 they’re put in the attic (as close to Gothic as you can get in my house, only accessible via small holes in my brothers’ closet’s ceilings and opened not much more than twice a year) and don’t come down again until 1979, by which time these thin glass things have had a good thirteen years of minute expansion and contraction with the extremes of Long Island summers and winters, evidenced by the slight crackle patterns in their blue paint. So almost from the minute we put them on the tree, they shattered POP! POP! POP!, one every hour or so, leaving a mess of blue and silver shards on the tree, on the presents, on the carpet for my mom to clean up, again and again and again. Thinking it was the Christmas lights doing them in, we tried re-positioning them on the tree but it didn’t make one damned bit of difference. In a final fit of masochism, we placed the remaining few on next year’s tree.